Update: Suspect in Minneapolis police station burning arrested in Breckenridge
BRECKENRIDGE — The Breckenridge Police Department assisted federal agencies in arresting a suspected arsonist out of Minneapolis last weekend.
Dylan Shakespeare Robinson, 22, of Brainerd, Minnesota, is one of at least two suspects wanted for allegedly setting fire to a Minneapolis police station May 28, just three days after the death of George Floyd sparked widespread protests throughout the city.
At about 2 p.m. Sunday, officers with the Breckenridge Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives arrested Robinson in the parking lot of the Breckenridge Recreation Center. Breckenridge Chief Jim Baird said the man was briefly taken to the police department before being transferred to the Front Range.
Baird noted that his officers have assisted in federal cases only a “handful of times” since he took over but that it’s not uncommon.
“Anywhere they’re working, there’s going to be a local agency,” Baird said about the federal agencies. “So they usually will reach out and ask for us to be with them for things like this, especially because a lot of them are in plain clothes. Instead of looking like a bunch of armed gunmen coming into town, the presence of uniformed officers from the jurisdiction helps let everyone know it’s a law enforcement group.”
According to the allegations, the Minneapolis Police Department’s Third Precinct was “overrun and heavily damaged” due to vandalism and arson, according to a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota. Surveillance footage show two individuals light a Molotov cocktail — a bottle filled with flammable liquid used as an improvised explosive — and throw it at the building.
The complaint contains photographs of the incident, which shows a man officials allege is Robinson lighting the explosive. Photos show another man, identified only as “Individual A” throwing the explosive at the precinct. Surveillance footage also shows the man believed to be Robinson throwing another explosive.
Investigators with the ATF also reviewed a video posted on a Snapchat account tied to Robinson that shows an individual making a Molotov cocktail with other unidentified voices providing directions, according to the complaint.
During the video, Robinson typed several remarks in the comments section, including, “These guys have never made a Molotov … rookies” and “We need gasoline,” according to the report. Investigators also reviewed another Snapchat video in which officials claim Robinson can be seen setting fire to a stairwell inside the precinct.
On June 9, the bureau issued a news release asking for information about the incident and released several photos of the suspects. A day later, a woman identified one of the men as Robinson.
On June 12, investigators obtained a search warrant for information from Robinson’s cellphone, including historical records containing cell site information and GPS “ping” data. The cell data was consistent with Robinson’s cellphone being in the vicinity of the Third Precinct at the time of the crime, according to the complaint.
The cellphone GPS data obtained also indicated that Robinson had left the state and was in the Denver area. A day later, another GPS ping indicated he was heading west on Interstate 70 toward Breckenridge, where he was eventually taken into custody.
During a hearing Tuesday at the U.S. District Court in Denver, U.S. Attorney Erica MacDonald announced a federal criminal complaint against Robinson, charging him with one count of aiding and abetting arson.
The investigation was conducted jointly by the ATF field divisions in St. Paul and Denver along with FBI field offices in Minneapolis and Denver, the U.S. Forest Service, Minneapolis Police Department, Summit County Sheriff’s Office, Breckenridge Police Department, Dillon Police Department and the Minnesota State Fire Marshal Division.
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BRECKENRIDGE — The pandemic has continued to impact local courts over recent months as judges, attorneys and others adjust to the ever-changing criminal justice landscape in the face of COVID-19.